Due to changes in the needs and challenges faced by schools following the COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020, this work will not continue as planned. Instead, the EdTech Innovation partnership is focussing on supporting students most disadvantaged by school closures. Read about our newly designed EdTech R&D Programme.
The EdTech Innovation Testbed was designed to help schools and colleges trial promising technology products suited to their needs for free. Using hands-on support from evaluation experts, it aimed to understand what works and generate actionable insights for schools, colleges and EdTech providers.
This project was part of a wider programme of work in partnership with the Department for Education to support schools and colleges to make more effective use of technology. It follows research carried out in 2019 exploring different models for ‘EdTech Testbeds’ found around the world.
Technology has the potential to support teaching and learning and reduce teacher workload, but we know that it doesn't always live up to expectations. There are many reasons for this - from unreliable infrastructure or lack of guidance on effective implementation, to poor training or an ill-suited product. Against this backdrop, it can be difficult for schools and colleges to know what technology will work for them.
Through the Edtech Innovation Testbed we planned to use evaluation to help us address some of these challenges and provide better evidence for schools and colleges. By bridging the gap between educators and technology organisations we aimed to achieve three goals:
- Higher quality evidence. Support EdTech organisations to generate more robust evidence through rapid mixed-methods experimental evaluations. Evidence for EdTech is often missing, low-quality, hard to understand or inconsistent. As a result, it is often difficult to make informed decisions about the most appropriate tools for schools/colleges. More robust forms of evaluation can be costly and inflexible for many EdTech tools, so we will support more accessible evaluations through the testbed.
- Improve how technology is used. Support schools and colleges to participate in research which will identify, trial, and evaluate EdTech tools suited to their needs. The Testbed will identify and share practical lessons for schools and colleges on improving technology use.
- Test the Testbed. Explore how the Testbed could become a sustainable model for more flexible, rapid and cheaper evaluations generating higher-quality evidence and useful learning for schools and colleges.